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Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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Who is the mysterious stranger that visits Pip at the pub in Great Expectations? What are Pip's expectations on learning about the reasons for the man's visit?

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The mysterious stranger is a London lawyer named Jaggers.  Pip is surprised at first, but then pleased with the news that he now has “great expectations.”

One day Pip is in the pub with Mr. Wopsle reading a newspaper about a crime in London when a man who seems to have knowledge of the crime interrupts.  The stranger asks Joe about his apprentice.  He explains that he is there to see Pip.

“My name,” he said, “is Jaggers, and I am a lawyer in London. I am pretty well known. I have unusual business to transact with you, and I commence by explaining that it is not of my originating. … What I have to do as the confidential agent of another, I do….” (Ch. 18)

Jaggers first checks to make sure that Joe will not interfere, and then explains to Pip what he is there for.  He explains to the men that Pip is about to come into “handsome property.”

“… Further, that it is the desire of the present possessor of that property, that he be immediately removed from his present sphere of life and from this place, and be brought up as a gentleman—in a word, as a young fellow of great expectations.” (Ch. 18)

There are some stipulations for this property.  Pip is not supposed to ask about his benefactor or where the money came from.  He has to agree to go to London to be trained to be a gentleman, leaving everything and everyone he knows behind.  Pip readily agrees. 

Pip assumes that the money and the “expectations” are Miss Havisham’s doing.  After all, she is the richest person that he knows.  She also has a lovely adopted daughter that Pip is in love with.  Ever since getting to know them, Pip has been unsatisfied with the simple blacksmith’s life.  He believes that he is being set up to marry Estella by becoming her equal, so he does not ask too many questions.  Of course, that was part of the deal.

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